Fr. John Bauer

Rector and Pastor
Clergy

Serves on the Parish Council, Finance Committee, Stewardship Council and as a member of The Basilica Landmark Board.  Fr. Bauer led the successful merger of 3 parishes (St.Therese, St. Gregory, St. Leo) to become the new Lumen Christi in St. Paul, and completed their major building expansion.  Former Pastor of St. Therese, Deephaven and Associate at St. Patrick’s in Edina. 

(612) 317-3502

Recent Posts by Fr. John Bauer

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/011920.cfm

This Sunday we begin what is known as “Ordinary Time” in our Church year.   This designation is not meant to diminish the importance of this time of year, but rather to distinguish it from the seasons of Advent and Christmas, which we just concluded, and the seasons of Lent and Easter.   At the conclusion of the Easter season, “Ordinary Time” will begin again, and will continue through the summer and fall months.   

Our Gospel this Sunday is taken from the Gospel of John.   In this Gospel John the Baptist sees Jesus coming toward him and says:  “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”   And while John initially says that he did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Gospel concludes with his clear statement:  “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”    I suspect the reason John didn’t recognize Jesus was that he knew him as his cousin.  Eventually, though, he came to understand that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.   Familiarity can sometimes blind us to seeing something beyond the familiar.   

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   It is from that section of Isaiah known as the Servant Songs.  In the section we read today Isaiah speaks about his call to be a prophet.   He is clear that God will work through him “to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel.”  

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the beginning of the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.   In it Paul identifies himself, and greets the people of Corinth with the words:  “Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”   

Questions for Discussion/Reflection:

1.  Has familiarity with a person or a situation ever blinded you to the presence and/or grace of God?
2.   Have you ever recognized God’s presence and grace only in retrospect?  
3.   Why do you think Paul began his letter to the Corinthians with the words:  “Grace and peace?”   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/011220.cfm  

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.   Since Jesus’ Baptism took place when he was an adult, it may seem odd to celebrate his baptism so soon after we have celebrated his birth.  The fact is, though, that other than the various infancy narratives and the story of the finding of Jesus in the temple, there are no stories of Jesus’ years before his Baptism and the beginning of his public ministry.    When you stop and think about it, however, there is a certain “rightness” to this.    While it would be interesting to know about Jesus’ life before he began his public ministry, his mission and his ministry are far more important to us because they brought about our salvation.   

Our Gospel this weekend is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism.   Matthew is the only evangelist to include the verse that tells us that when Jesus came to John for Baptism, “John tried to prevent him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me.”   Most scripture scholars agree that John didn’t want to baptize Jesus because he did not see Jesus as a sinner in need of Baptism.  And while we believe that Jesus was without sin, we also believe that his baptism marked the beginning of his public ministry.  (As Christians, it is our belief that Baptism takes away original sin.  We also believe, though, that Baptism begins our life in Christ, and as importantly that it empowers us to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus.)  We are told that after Jesus was baptized, a voice came from the heavens saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”   We believe that the Spirit is also given to us at our Baptism, and that we are all beloved children of God.  

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   It is taken from the section of Isaiah known as the “Servant Songs.”   The servant is the chosen one of the Lord, and the song describes the characteristics and mission of the servant.   We see the “servant songs” as prefiguring Jesus.  In the section for this weekend we read:  “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit;” 

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.   In it Peter describes the mission of Jesus and reminds us that “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is given to all the baptized.   What is the Holy Spirit empowering you to do?   
  2. If it is true that God shows no partiality, why bother with Baptism?
  3. Do you see yourself as a Beloved Son or Daughter of God?  

The Promise of Eternal Life

During this past Advent, I got up one Sunday morning around 4:00am to pray and get ready for the day. (Since I am not a morning person, my rule is that I need to get up three hours before I have to talk.) After a cup of coffee (half decaf – half regular), I settled in to pray Morning Prayer. After I prayed the psalms and canticle, and reflected on the reading, I started to read the intercessions. The first three were fine, but when I read the fourth one I was somewhat taken aback. I thought it said: “You are praised throughout the ages; in your mercy help us to live devoutly and temporarily in this life, as we wait in joyful hope for the revelation of your glory.” I read it again, and then again. The third time through, I realized the word was temperately, not temporarily. I had to laugh at myself for my malapropism, as I realized I wasn’t as awake/alert as I thought I was. 

Later that evening, I reflected a bit on my inadvertent substitution of temporarily for temperately. It dawned on me that perhaps there was a message for me in my malapropism. As I continued to reflect it occurred to me how easy it is for me to focus almost exclusively on what is right in front of me and forget that this life is not the end, that there is more. Our existence in this world is not all there is. It is temporary. At every Mass in the embolism the priest says after the Our Father we are reminded that “we live in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” These words call us to remember and believe that as good and blessed as this world is, it is temporary. There is something more. There is the promise and hope of eternal life. 

Now certainly it is our sure and certain hope that our faith offers us the promise of eternal life. At times, though, it is easy to let this belief fade into the background, as we focus our time and attention exclusively on this world. For the vast majority of us, I don’t think this is intentional. Rather, sometimes the tasks and challenges of this world not only distract us, but can engulf us and cause us to lose focus of what ultimately matters. At these times, it is good to remember that while this world offers us many blessings, ultimately it is temporary and transitory. Our final destination is heaven. 

As Christians, we are called to live devoutly and temperately in this life. We do this because we realize that this life is temporarily, and that ultimately we hope to share eternal life with our God. The hope of heaven should both challenge and incentivize us to live in such a way in this temporary and passing life, so that we never lose our focus on the life to come. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/010520.cfm 
 
For several years I have gotten together with a group of friends during the month of January for a “mini” retreat at a cabin in northern Wisconsin.   One of the things that amazes me anew each year is the clarity and brightness of the stars at night.   When you get away from the illumination of the lights of the cities, the stars seem to shine with brighter clarity and brilliance.  I suspect this is an experience we all have had.   
 
This memory came back to me as I looked at our readings this weekend for the Solemnity of the Epiphany.   Our Gospel this weekend is the familiar story of the visit of the Magi (who were Gentiles) to the new born Christ child.   This story, which is found only in the Gospel of Matthew, reminds us that Christ was born as savior of all people, no exceptions, no exclusions, no restrictions.   
 
As we read this Gospel, it is interesting to note the details that are not included in it, but have been added over the years.   The Magi have been promoted to Kings.   We have identified their number as three.  And we have even given them names.   
 
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.    It is a description of the city of Jerusalem that awaits the returning exiles.  It reminds them that “upon you the Lord shines and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light and kings by your shining radiance.”   
 
The second reading for this weekend is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians.  It reinforces the message of the Gospel and reminds us that “the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise of Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”   
 
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
 
  1. The revelation of a star guided the Magi.  When have you ever received a revelation that guided you in your life?
  2. If Jesus is the savior of all people, what would you say to those people who want to limit the number of those who will be saved?
  3. What do you need to do to let the light of Christ shine in you that you might lead others to Christ?   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/122919.cfm  

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.   Our Gospel this Sunday occurs just after the visit of the Magi to the new born Christ child.   We are told that “When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.  Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him’”    Joseph did as he was told and “took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.”    They remained in Egypt until Herod died.    

This Gospel and the one we read on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, tell us almost all of what we know about St. Joseph.   While the information is scant, it is clear that Joseph was a man of great faith who was open to God’s will in his life even though he may not always have understood that will.   

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Sirach.   It was chosen because it and our second reading this Sunday from the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, talk about the virtues of family life.   In Sirach we read:  “God sets a father in honor over his child, a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.”   And in St. Paul’s letter we read:  “Put on as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  And over all these put on love,”

Clearly all three readings this Sunday extol the values of family and the virtues we are called to display as followers of Jesus Christ. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Families today come in all shapes and sizes.   What do you think defines a family?  
  2. I have a friend who has several children, now all adults.   When her children were growing she used to quip that “Of course, it was easy for Mary and Joseph to be the Holy Family.  They only had one child, and he was perfect.”    What makes a family holy?  
  3. What is the biggest obstacle to families being holy? 

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